Before & After
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Surgeon TestimonialJohn Alexander, M.D.Liked him very much. Was very informative and seems his office has a lady named Sabrina that will fight hard. I liked the fact that he was very assuring of safety and risks before I asked. Didn't really dislike anything but I've only seen him once (Jan 15th). The literature said a great deal about aftercare and stressed that they would continue to work with me afterward. So far overall rate is very good. 1/19/01 Received copy of letter that Sabrina sent to insurance company. The letter was very professional and was sent exactly when I was told it would be. I've been scheduled for my EGD and Sabrina called and made sure my appointment was correct. She has been very informative in every aspect of the procedures necessary to try and get this approved.
- Computers & Internet - Computer guru, artist and generally connected with lots of electronic toys
- Crafts - Polymer clay, ceramics, art of all kinds
- Animal Rescue - Went to rescue animals after Katrina, wish I could save all from suffering
- Cats - I'm a cat addict. That sort of says it all.
- Dogs - Just got a Bichon and I'm in love!
- Music - I play Cello, Piano and Guitar and sing.
- Photography - I've been involved in photography for years. You can see some of it at my site.
- Golf - Started last March 2003 and I'm hooked.
- Yoga - Primary exercise for me. Just about anyone can do this in some form.
Yvonne McCarthy's JourneyClick Here To View
Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
I've been on a diet since the 4th grade. The only time I was thin was in college and I was literally starving myself to death. Every time I lost a lot of weight, I gained it back plus more. I was depressed and in the end wouldn't go out in public because I didn't want anyone to see me. I went to the grocery store and work and that's it.
Ms Fatty.com interviewed me! on July 29, 2009 6:03 pm
Special thanks to Ms. Fatty for interviewing me!
/ Around The Interwebs
/ Fireside Chat with The Bariatric Girl
Fireside Chat with The Bariatric Girl
Remember, if you are severely obese, bariatric surgery remains a legitimate option for you in your weight loss journey.
I’ve posted here about my online pal, The Bariatric Girl
. Today I’m going to post the little fireside chat we had about weight loss surgery recently. Enjoy!
1. Yvonne, you have been fighting obesity your entire life; tell us something about the transformation of your mind that happened during the transformation of your body?My mind lagged well behind my body and that still hasn’t gone away entirely. Old habits die hard and so did the memories of my body. The strange one was when I was in the grocery store and felt like people walking by were literally on top of me. I was so used to people going around me and since I don’t require as much room, they walk closer and it was almost claustrophobic at first but I’ve adjusted.
2. One thing that we’ve discussed via email is how our “no cheat rule” has contributed to success. A lot of people think that having the bariatric surgery is the “easy way out” in a sense, because you’ll never have to worry about wanting to cheat ; ie, no self control needed after you get the surgery, it just “happens.” Further reading into this topic though, and you will find that some people that have had the surgery actually cheat and get fat again. I’m sure having a tiny pouch that you can’t fit a lot of food into helps tremendously, but if some people are still getting fat, then it seems to me that yes, a transformation of mind in also necessary. Talk to us a little bit about why you feel a no cheat rule works for you and why some people gain back all that weight even after surgery.
ABSOLUTELY. We did not get brain surgery. We just got a smaller stomach but if we don’t change what we were doing before, you can go back to obesity or switch to something new to abuse or another method to self medicate. Now you’re pretty safe the first year because your metabolism is still being tricked so you can eat pretty much what you want and still lose weight. We call that the honeymoon period. Approximately after a year that’s over with so it’s just like being put magically into this thinner body but your metabolism has smartened up. You must start the lifestyle change immediately after surgery because if you wait until the honeymoon period is over, it is much MUCH more difficult because you’re days of losing no matter what are pretty much done. For me that was a good trade. Take me back to normal and I promise to eat right and get some exercise….like getting a do over. If you start right after surgery, you’ve had a year of forming good habits.
With certain kinds of weight loss surgery it is designed to make you ill if you eat certain things like too much sugar. The truth is you will lose your cravings if you stop eating something completely. The no cheat rule makes it black and white. I look at sugar as poison so it’s very simple. I tried to stop drinking Coke for years and the funny thing is…now I don’t even remember what a Coke tastes like. The reason some people gain weight back is because they didn’t deal with the issues in their head that causes them to use food to self medicate. There’s another group of people that gain back 20-40 pounds and end up being more miserable than when they weighed 300 pounds. You must fight to keep that goal weight when you reach it or a whole bunch of head games start telling you that you’ve failed again. It may seem impossible to most that a woman that has lost over 100 pounds can feel like a failure because she’s gained back 20 pounds but it happens every day. We must learn what really makes us happy in life and what we want will follow. FOLLOW YOUR BLISS! Don’t expect the bad or that’s what you’ll get.
3. Let’s talk about shakes. I know that people that have had bariatric surgery often live on these things for the first few months. I haven’t had the surgery, but I enjoy the unrefined, low sugar shakes I prepare myself as meal replacements. Have any good suggestions or recipes for the kind of highly nutritious shakes bariatric people use?
I actually still drink a shake every morning. It’s super important to put something in your body for breakfast so you won’t throw your body into starvation mode. When you do eat, the body hangs on to those calories like crazy because after sleeping for 8 hours and then waiting hours to eat after waking makes your body think it’s starving. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card. I actually drink MetRX extreme chocolate. I put a lot of ice in it and blend it so it comes out like a chocolate shake…at least as much as I can remember a chocolate shake. There is a great blog called “the world according to Eggface” that has some of the best recipes for weight loss people. Great recipes and a great blog!
4. Talk to us about exercise. I hate exercise. I have a rebounder and that’s the only thing I do; it is excellent. Do you love/hate exercise? What exercise has been the most entertaining for you? What is the most useful for health?
I always hated exercise but I am asked often if I “work out”. I found yoga. Many people automatically assume that yoga is only for people that can bend like a pretzel. For me yoga is like slow dancing by yourself but at the same time you are increasing your range of motion and burning calories. It is said that ten minutes of yoga is as good as an hour on the treadmill. There are great videos online for beginner yoga and there’s a great DVD called “Heavyweight Yoga” that you can get at www.heartfeltyoga.com. I think it’s super important that you find something you like and something that is easy to do. I can do yoga anywhere, anytime. If you absolutely cannot find an exercise you like, then dance! Walk your dog. It has been proven that exercise can be a huge benefit to people that are depressed. Whatever you do, it’s just really important not to “hate” it. If you believe it’s a drag, it will be!
5. What is a typical day of meals and drinks for you?
Well you might be surprised. I have completely changed the way I feel about food. I look at it as fuel. For me I had to not look at food as a sexual experience anymore. If every time we went to fill up with gas there was an ocean breeze (in Texas), dancing naked men (or women), hot music etc…. well you’d be wanting to go get gas again sooner than necessary. I eat as boring as possible because it works for me. I look forward to that shake in the morning and the rest of the day is mostly protein. I try to eat vegetables and fruit in the right amounts. The more water you can drink the better. I actually hate water so I have to put something in it to make it possible for me to drink. There are so many things on the market that you’ll find one you like if you keep looking. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear this answer about boring food but too much food and the wrong food is the substance that makes me an unhappy person. I will not go back to the obese person I was and food can no longer be the end all/be all for me. It is fuel and I cannot afford for it to be the thing I look to for self medication of my anxiety in life. Food is fuel now…no longer a drug.
6. Do you have a favorite “appetite busting” food or drink?
I love these meat sticks called “Ostrim”. You can put them in your car or purse or pocket and it doesn’t matter what temperature they are. When you are out somewhere and you allowed yourself to get so hungry that you’ll eat anything you will certainly mess up. Ostrim meat sticks keep me from going through that drive through when I shouldn’t. They come in 4 flavors and taste great. Being prepared for what you’ll eat each day will keep you out of a lot of trouble in the long run.
7. I gotta ask… when you were fat, did you have really wide feet and a hard time finding shoes to wear? If so, after you lost the weight, did your feet return to a normal width? This is a crisis issue with some fatties I know, including myself. When I got fat I could no longer wear pretty shoes.
I was asked this just the other day. I lost a shoe size but some have reported as much as a size and a half. And yes you can wear those pretty shoes again. I know when I was obese, it was so painful and I really didn’t feel like putting those pretty shoes on my big body. I’ve made up for a lot of lost time now.
8. If someone is considering bariatric surgery, give us a spiel on your best advice for them.
My best advice would be to go online and research people that have succeeded and ask them how. Ask them what they did that make the difference between success and failure. You can find a ton of things for and against anything you research. Some people have lost loved ones due to surgery and they are just as upset as you would expect them to be. You will find blogs telling you that you are an idiot to consider it. For various reasons you will find blogs that say it’s the easy way out.
I also know people who have lost their lives because they were obese…one was a friend of mine. If you have tried and I mean sincerely tried and failed tons of diets, and if you are ready to sincerely put the effort into the lifestyle change, you could be a candidate. Even though it is difficult to believe, you also cannot buy into the belief that when you lose all the weight that your life will be perfect. You must be willing to educate yourself on what’s going on in your head and how you got obese in the first place. Choosing to have weight loss surgery is an extremely personal decision that no one should ever push on someone else. All I can do is live my life as an example and show others what a successful weight loss surgery journey looks like. You are the person that lives in your body so it’s your decision. Just like anything you do in your life that is a major undertaking, talk to those that have been in the trenches. My blog in particular will tell you a lot about what to expect.
9. In your layman’s opinion, what do you think is the best surgery, that is the safest and with the best outcomes?
The best surgery is the one you decide to have. It is important to go to a surgeon that offers all of them. Some want lapband because you can reverse it. Some want something else because they don’t want a foreign body inside them and have to go back for fills. Some don’t want their guts rearranged. That’s why it is so important to talk to your bariatric doctor because he or she is trained to ask those questions so that you can pick what is best for you.
I have known people that have succeeded and failed with every kind of surgery and even though you will see a lot of fighting online about which surgery is the best, that’s between you and your doctor and whether your insurance will cover it or not. Some people do not have insurance and self pay. The thing that is important is believing in the one you pick. Treat it as the miracle it is and show your surgery some respect. If you go in expecting failure, that’s what you’ll get. Don’t let naysayers rent space in your head. There’s always someone that will have something nasty or critical to say. Surround yourself with successful, happy people and you’ll find it easier to be that way.
10. What do you look for in a doctor?
Experience and the way you feel when you talk to him/her. Get feedback from his other patients. I am a member of Obesity Help.com and each member has their doctor’s name under their user name. The doctor’s page has feedback from his patients. Check out how extensive the aftercare program is BUT it is far more important to go to a good doc first. A doc with good marketing could make his program look like a million dollars but that doesn’t tell you how good he is. The proof is talking to other patients and asking a lot of questions. Read more: http://www.msfatty.com/2009/07/29/fireside-chat-with-the-bariatric-girl/#ixzz0MhLuxIEt
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